• Veganuary - week 2 - what's for lunch?

    It's week 2 of Veganuary! How's it going so far? Have you mastered vegan breakfast? Did you try the savoury oats? I'd love to hear how it's going for you!

    This week let's talk about lunch...

    Lunch can be a challenge for people when they are transitioning, especially if you're used to whipping up a sandwich for lunch. So, it's time to think a bit outside the box!

    In this week's episode of In My Plant-Based Kitchen (Episode 25!) I dish (get it? haha) about...

    • 🥦the place of "transition foods" i.e. vegan lunch meats/cheeses/animal food replacements in a healthy diet (pros and cons)
    • 🥦lunch ideas and inspiration
    • 🥦tips for making healthy lunches easy
    • 🥦I walk you through making a template meal "grain salad" (I make a Mediterranean version, but share tips and ideas on how you can switch things up to use what you've got in your fridge and/or what you like). This is a great, versatile meal idea to keep in your pocket for dinner, and then use the leftovers for lunch!

    Even though we talk about lunch ideas in more details in the video I wanted to share a few of my faves with you here:

    • 🥦Leftovers - chilis, curries, soups/stews, loaves -- anything that can be portioned up into lunch containers and reheats well!
    • 🥦Wraps -- stuff with greens, hummus, and veggies -- or leftovers!
    • 🥦Keep it simple – hummus and veggies – if you cut the veggies up ahead of time and keep them in water (this works well with harder veggies like carrots and celery, not as well with peppers) this can be a great grab and go lunch!
    • 🥦No “tuna” salad – this is my favourite oil-free version - great to use in sandwiches and wraps

    And the grain bowl we made in the video is another favourite! Here is today's version:

    And here is the recipe/template:

    (as I cover in the video, this is completely versatile - you can use different grains/beans, and vegetables (cooked and/or raw), even dressings - the idea is just to use the grain as the base and make sure you get a good diversity of foods in there -- see the video for more details.)

    EXAMPLE - MEDITERRANEAN QUINOA BOWL/SALAD

    Combine (amounts are simply guidelines -- I'd keep the grain and beans about the same, but use more/less of other things, depending on what you have/like):

    • 1 cup uncooked quinoa or another grain of your choice (makes about 3 cups cooked) *
    • 1 1/2 cups or 1 can chickpeas, roasted with italian seasoning mix (roasting is optional)
    •  ½ head cauliflower, roasted with Italian seasoning mix
    • 1 small-med zucchini, roasted with Italain seasoning mix
    • 1 orange pepper, diced
    • 2 stalks celery, diced
    • 1 bunch green onions, sliced (white part) and julienned (green part)
    • 1/2 cup Kalamata Olives, chopped (or sundried tomatoes, rehydrated
    • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes. halved

    * I like to cook my quinoa with a ratio of 1 cup dry quinoa: 1 ¾ cups water (with the juice of 1 lemon/lime incorporated into the water)

    Dress with a combination of:

    • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tbsp aquafaba or olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste (I usually use about 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper)

    Once everything is mixed up garnish with additional tomatoes, chopped cashews and/or some vegan feta

    A few key tips for lunch success:

    1) Plan ahead - I can't stress this enough! Taking a few minutes on the weekend or in the evenings to think about the types of lunches you might want to have makes a BIG difference. Even thinking about it the night before and packaging up some leftovers in a wrap or container that you can grab on your way out the door in the morning really helps.

    2) Batch cook so you have leftovers - get in the habit of making a few more servings than you need, and portion them out for lunch. This makes lunch SO EASY. WRAPS are one of my favourite ways to make leftovers/batched cooked food feel like something different and new for lunch. :-)

    3) Get yourself a good thermos that will keep things warm for you, if you're not in a place you can heat your lunch up.

    Do you have a great lunch tip/recipe to share? Leave it in the comments below!


  • Let's Make N'Ice Cream (and talk sugar)

    It's HOT and the perfect week to make N'ICE Cream! Want a delicious, cool treat that you can also count as a healthy snack? Then you won't want to miss Episode 4 of In My Plant-Based Kitchen.



    This week I'm answering a question that came in from a viewer -- sugar and sugar-free dessert ideas. We cover:

    • some good-to-know facts about sugar and health

    • where sugar can be hiding in our modern diets, and why that's a concern

    • sugar and fruit/whole foods -- what's the difference?

    • tips for enjoying a naturally sweetened diet (be sure to check out the show notes for links to further resources and recipes)

    And I do a demo and provide some practical tips for making Blackberry Lime N'Ice Cream -- Here's the recipe (it's SO easy):

    Blackberry Lime N’Ice Cream

    (pictured above)

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup chopped frozen bananas

    • 1 ½ cup frozen blackberries, and fresh for serving (optional)

    • Zest of 1 lime

    • 1 tsp lime juice (or more to taste/as necessary)

    In a food processor blend bananas and blackberries until everything starts to come together. Add zest and lime juice and pulse just until everything is incorporated and smooth, being careful not to overprocess. Top with fresh berries if desired.

    Serve immediately!

    MIX IT UP -- some more recipe ideas for you!

    Another really nice version of the blackberry recipe above swaps the blackberries for strawberries and the lime for balsamic vinegar, omitting the lime zest. Delicious!

    One of the things I love about N'Ice Cream is how EASY it is to get creative and make different kinds. A basic template to start with looks like this:

    • 1 cup chopped frozen bananas (this is pretty standard since it makes the n'ice cream CREAMY - but don't worry, you won't taste the banana since frozen banana has a very mild taste)

    • 1 ½ cup frozen berries/cherries/other fruit

    • (optional) 1-2 tbsp special additions, like nuts/seeds (or nut butters), chocolate chips or cacao, dried fruit, coconut, fresh herbs such as mint, etc (get creative)

    • (optional) 1 tsp

    In a food processor blend bananas and other fruit until everything starts to come together, pushing down as necessary. Once creamy add additional ingredients and pulse just until everything is incorporated and smooth, being careful not to overprocess/overheat. Top with garnishes for an extra special touch.

    Here are a couple more recipe ideas to get you started:

    Mint Honeydew Sherbet with Lime

    • 1 cup sliced, frozen bananas
    • 2 cups chopped, frozen honeydew melon
    • 1-2 tbsp mint leaves
    • juice of 1 lime (or more, to taste)
    • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup, to taste (optional)
    Option:
    • add a few drops of peppermint essential oil (food grade only) for an extra minty flavour

    Mango Orange Sherbet

    • 1 cup sliced, frozen banana
    • 1 ½ cup frozen mango
    • 1 ½ cup frozen orange
    • 1-2 tbsp agave syrup (optional)
    Option:
    • add a few drops of food grade orange essential oil
    • pulse in some shredded coconut at the end
    What combinations are YOUR favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Power Packed Smoothies

    In this week's episode of In My Plant-Based Kitchen we're talking about smoothies!

    I talk about reasons to include them, tips for making them nutritious AND delicious, including suggestions for easy power-packed additions and more. AND I share the GO-TO Smoothie Recipe I use very often, based on Dr. Brooke Goldner's  green smoothie formula.

    Find the formula, more recipe ideas and some smoothie tips below:

    GO-TO Smoothie Formula:

    Fill your blender with

    • 75% leafy greens (power greens mix/kale/beet greens/spinach, etc) -- I used a mixture of beet greens, mint and a power green mix

    • fill to the top of greens with water (or you can use a chilled tea - I used green tea)

    • 1-2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (or you can use chia)

    • 25% frozen fruit (I used bananas and an orange)

    • my addition: 1 tsp of a power boost ingredient (I used shatavari powder)

    Blend it up well and sip throughout the day!

    Other smoothie ideas to get you started:

    Green Ginger Pear Joy (serves 2)

    2 cups water/coconut water/cooled green tea
    1 tbsp ginger, chopped fine
    2 oranges
    2 pitted dates
    2 cups frozen pear slices (or fresh with 2 ice cubes)
    4 cups spinach

    Green Morning Monster (serves 1)

    1 orange, peeled
    1 cup pure orange juice or water (oj makes it a little sweeter)
    1 stalk celery
    1 lime, peeled (but you can include a bit of the zest if you like)
    large handful spinach/kale (spinach is milder – so use it if you are not used to green yet)
    handful of fresh mint (optional)
    ¼ tsp turmeric
    3-4 ice cubes

    Pineapple Cucumber Mint Refresher (serves 2)

    2 cups coconut water
    1 cup pineapple
    1 cup mint leaves
    2 frozen bananas
    ½ cup frozen cucumber

    Simple Berry Smoothie (serves 2)

    2 cups almond milk
    a couple of leaves of purple cabbage OR a handful of spinach/other leafy greens
    1 frozen banana
    1 cup fresh/frozen blueberries/blackberries/mixed berries
    1 tbsp chia seeds
    1 tsp maca powder (optional)

    Breakfast Oatmeal Smoothie (serves 1-2)

    1 cup almond milk
    1-2 tbsp rolled oats
    ½ -1 frozen banana
    ¼ tsp cinnamon
    2 ice cubes
    1-2 dates
    1 tbsp hemp seeds
    1 tbsp almond butter
    1 tbsp molasses

    Melon Madness (serves 2)

    1 cup coconut water
    ½ small melon, skinned and cubed
    ½ cucumber
    1 handful spinach/kale
    4 ice cubes
    1 handful mint

    Skip the Flu Season Smoothie (serves 2)

    2 cups chilled green tea (de-caf if you like)/water/coconut water
    2 large handfuls chopped kale
    2 frozen bananas
    2 tbsp chia seeds OR 2 tbsp white beans
    2 cups blackberries

    GREAT SMOOTHIE ADDITIONS

    TO MAKE THEM MORE FILLING DO ONE OF THESE THINGS:

    • Add 1-2 tbsp nut/seed butter or raw, unsalted nuts/seeds – like peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter etc

    • Add 1 tbsp superfood seeds, such as ground flax, chia, hemp hearts

    • Add 1-2 tbsp uncooked oats

    • Add ¼ cup white beans or chickpeas

    NOTE: you may have to add more liquid if you do one of these things, so the smoothie is not too thick

    TO BOOST THE ANTIOXIDANT POWER ADD ONE OF THESE SUPERFOODS:

    • Add a tbsp of goji berries or a tsp of goji berry powder

    • Add 1 tsp amla powder

    • Add 1 tsp matcha powder

     


  • Whole Grain Tabouleh

    I've been making variations of this tabouleh recipe since I became vegan more than 20 years ago, and I never get tired of it. I particularly love grain salads in the summer because they are cool, light meals that you can make a big batch of and eat with a side of greens and other veggies, in a pita with hummus, or on rice crackers for a snack!'

    It is featured in this week's Episode of In My Plant-Based Kitchen - Citrus!

    Whole Grain Tabouleh

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup bulgur wheat OR quinoa*

    • 2 cups water*

    • 3-4 green onions, cut into small rounds

    • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced (or less if you’re not a huge garlic fan)

    • 1 can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)

    • 1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)

    • ½ bunch fresh parsley, chopped

    • 1-2 large, ripe roma tomato(s), diced

    Dressing:

    • 1 tbsp olive oil (or use aquafaba from the chickpeas to make it oil-free)

    • 1 ¼ tbsp vinegar

    • ¼ cup lemon juice

    • pinch of unrefined sugar or a splash of maple syrup (optional)

    • ½ tsp sea salt or salt alternative

    • ¼ tsp ground pepper

    Directions:

    1. Place bulgur in bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover with a clean tea towel and let stand for 15 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed.

    2. Prepare vegetables and dressing.

    3. Combine vegetables, bulgur and dressing in a large bowl, mixing well. Let stand about 1 hour before serving (or serve right away if you can’t wait). Taste and season with more dressing/lemon juice and/or salt and pepper if desired.

    4. Serve in a pita with lettuce/spinach and a few olives for a lovely lunch, or with some whole grain crackers as a delicious snack.

    Notes

    *Quinoa can be used in place of bulghur for a GF version. Use 1 cup of quinoa: 1 3/4 cups water (bring to a boil, and cook on low for about 15 minutes until all water has been absorbed; cool slightly before adding to the rest of the ingredients).

    REFRESHING THE DRESSING: After the first day you'll notice that the dressing is much more subtle as the grain and beans absorb the flavours - you can refresh the salad by simply adding a bit more dressing, or some additional lemon juice and/or salt and pepper.

    Enjoy!


  • How to make crispy tofu (and a recipe for Crunchy Cashew Noodle Salad)

    In my humble opinion, one of the great breakthroughs in plant-based cooking is learning how to make a basic crispy tofu that you can then cook in different marinades/sauces to add a boost of texture and flavour (and nutrition) to your dishes.

    Today I want to share one of the recipes I have taught a number of times over the years – for a couple of reasons:

    1. If you haven’t already mastered the no-oil sauteed tofu method, you're missing out!

    2. This is a delicious recipe that you can customize to your own tastes/the tastes of your loved ones — it’s gonna be one you’ll make again and again.

    Here’s your recipe:

    Crunchy Cashew Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu

    Serves 4

    Ingredients:

    • 1 package extra firm tofu, sautéed with simple marinade, as described below

    • simple marinade for tofu: 2 tbsp maple syrup + 2 tbsp braggs soy alternative OR coconut aminos

    • 1 package of noodles of your choice (200-250 g), cooked; see below for noodle recommendations

    • About 5 cups of mixed vegetables (adapt this to what you have/like), for example:

      • 1 cup carrots, julienned

      • 1 cup red pepper, julienned

      • 1 cup snap peas

      • 1 cup celery, julienned

      • 1 cup purple cabbage, shredded

    • ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro or parsley

    • 1 cup of pea sprouts, or other sprouts of choice

    • ½ – 1 cup lightly roasted cashews

    • 1 recipe Spicy Cashew Dressing: (blend together until smooth)

      • ½ cup cashews, soaked

      • 1 large clove garlic

      • 1 tsp fresh ginger

      • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup

      • 2 tbsp braggs soy alternative OR coconut aminos

      • 1-2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste

      • 1/3 cup water

      • Hot sauce to taste (optional)

    Directions:

    1. Prepare the extra firm tofu by cutting it into cubes and dry sautéing it until crispy. To do this, heat a large saucepan so that water sizzles on its surface (I prefer a good quality ceramic or stainless steel for this) — this is important because it helps to prevent the tofu from sticking. When the pan is hot, place the tofu cubes in the pan. Resist the urge to stir them around at this point – they will stick at first but once they have seared, they should come away without sticking. Brown the tofu on all sides, as shown below. (STEP 1)

    2. Once browned on all sides, add the simple marinade and let the tofu cook in it (over medium-low heat) until all the marinade has been absorbed (STEP 2). Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat once it’s looking nice and crispy and set aside.

    3. Prepare the noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside.

    These noodles are both fantastic options for noodles to use with this salad!

     

    4. Cut all your vegetables up and put them together into a large bowl.

    5. Prepare your dressing.

    6. Toss noodles and dressing together, then toss in the veggies and mix again. You may want to keep a few aside to use on the top for presentation colour. 😊

    7. Divide into individual bowls and add tofu, then garnish with herbs, sprouts and roasted cashews.

    Enjoy! Make it? Let me know how you liked it below!



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